Meet the Agents – Sam Copeland from Rogers, Coleridge & White

Sam Copeland, Rogers, Coleridge & White
Sam is an agent at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Sam’s first job in publishing was at Curtis Brown, where he started in 2001.  He left in 2006 to help create the Robinson Literary Agency, and joined Rogers, Coleridge and White in 2009 when the two companies merged.   He is building an extremely diverse list, representing writers of both literary and commercial fiction, science fiction, children’s (11+), serious and not-so-serious non-fiction.  In fact, he is happy to look at anything but self-help and business books.

  • When did you come into agenting? What did you do before? And why agenting?

My first job in agenting was ten years ago, when I started at Curtis Brown. After 5 years, I moved to Rogers, Coleridge and White. Before that I was a  bookseller, cleaner, market trader, door to door salesman, bar man etc etc etc… And why agenting? Because on it’s day, it’s the best job in the world.

  • Have you ever opened a new manuscript, read a single page, and thought ‘I’m going to end up making an offer on this’? What was it about that page which excited you?

Yes. Recently actually. It was original, brilliantly written and completely startling.

  • What’s your pet peeve on covering letters?

Pet peeve on covering letters? All the usual. To be honest, there’s a lot of focus placed on covering letters by writers (and agents) But really, it’s not rocket science. Couple of lines on who you are, a few lines about the book. Don’t fret about it too much, don’t try too much (the more you try the more you’re likely to mess up..). And pick the right agent. It’s all in the writing of the book at the end of the day.

  • Do you need good personal chemistry with your authors?

You don’t need good chemistry, but it certainly helps. Many of my authors have become close friends.

  • If you weren’t an agent, what else would you be?

I am utterly unqualified to do anything apart from being a literary agent. Oh – actually – maybe an astronaut.


Sam is one of the agents appearing at this year’s Festival of Writing. Each year we invite literary agents who are hungry for new talent and who represent some of the biggest and best agencies in the business. Don’t miss your chance to book a one-to-one session with an agent of your choice.

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  • Terrence J Cadet

    I wish I could Meet the Agents,but unable more’s the pity. These past four years i have contacted so many publishers about fiction novel manuscript is roughly 100,000 words ,but all I get back is no mention of viewing but how much it will cost me and money up front.Is this the norm for a new author or a rip off?

  • Harry

    Only vanity publishers / self-publishers ask for money. Traditional commercial publishers are there to pay YOU. To get a regular publisher, you do need a literary agent. There’s LOADS of info on this website about how to get an agent – but you do need to start with an outstanding manuscript. If you don’t have that, then you need to rewrite the darn thing until it sparkles.